AAARRRP! Orbit or Funnel?

Let's find a model for DevRel

Cheuk Ting Ho



Have you ever heard of the Pirate Metric?


Based on marketing growth model - aka pirate funnel

  • Heard about product
  • Signup
  • Start using product
  • Keep using product
  • Tell people about it
  • Paying for service
  • Contributing


Exercise: Measure devrel activity with AAARRRP

ACTIVITIES Awaness Aquisition Activation Retention Referral Revenue Product
Blog post Y Y Y N N N Y
Tutorials Y Y Y Maybe N N Maybe
Talks Y Y Y Y Y N Y
Workshop Y Y Y Y Y Y N
N N Y Y Maybe N Y
Sponsor conference Y Y Y N Y Y Y

But it only account for immediate results...

Growth may come slowly and results may not be immediate...

Need another model to account for long term growth potential

The Orbit Model






  • They are: developers who’ve shown interest by signing up, trying out or subscribing, but aren’t active and may not have a need for the product yet
  • You might ask them to: read content, browse high-level documentation, execute lightweight code samples, play with an example app, participate in games, contests and challenges
  • What they want: Quality on-trend technical content, high-level product-centric content that explains use cases, guides and tutorials, starter kits, community projects, social proof, games, entertainment
  • How to connect: Content marketing, newsletters, advertising, brand awareness


  • They are: developers who are actively using the product, and who at a minimum have some online or offline interaction with other developers
  • You might ask them to: introduce the product to colleagues, be the champion in a deal, upgrade to a paid version, try out new features or related products, and advocate internally
  • What they want: a fast and reliable product, solid documentation, well-maintained SDKs, high-quality support, extensive library of demos and examples, generous free tier, reasonable self-service pricing, swag
  • How to connect: customer support, office hours, product-centric email campaigns, feedback widgets, on unowned developer channels like StackOverflow, Reddit, HackerNews, DEV, etc.



  • They are: a wider circle of developers who are passionate about the product, have successfully used it, and are happy to share their expertise with their sphere of influence
  • You might ask them to: contribute to documentation and SDKs, build hackathon projects, write blog posts, moderate forums and chats, build showcase projects, give detailed feedback, attend and speak at meetups, attend conferences, beta test new features, host internal workshops, and advocate locally
  • They want: learning opportunities, reputation-building, speaking opportunities, special swag, discounts, higher quotas, financial support and resources for their community
  • How to connect: Owned community chat/forum spaces like Slack, Discord, Spectrum, Discourse, GitHub issues and PRs, social media, IRL at events


  • They are: an inner circle of developers that are highly satisfied, knowledgeable users of the product and have a large influence in the broader developer community
  • You might ask them to: speak at conferences, organize events in local communities, run workshops, build plugins and integrations, amplify announcements, be a customer reference, and advocate universally
  • They want: visibility, help building their brand, exclusive or early access to features, direct lines of product support, speaking engagements, training, free product usage, overall to feel like a VIP
  • How to connect: 1:1 email, Twitter DM, messaging apps, shared Slack channels, video calls, IRL, i.e. make it personal

Gravity = Love x Reach

Love = love for your service,
Reach = reach to their peers

Both dimensions are important.

The higher the gravity, the lower the orbit.

Goal: maximize the amount of gravity in your solar system.

To build a high-gravity developer community


  • segment developers into orbits
  • make connections in and across orbit levels
  • offer the right opportunities to developers in each orbit
  • encourage the right people to move inward and commit more
  • make it easy for developers to share their love

Exercise: Activities for Terminus Hub Launch

Orbit Activities
Blogs, tutorials, videos, meetups, talks
Emails, slack, merch, community forum
free trial, 1:1, swag, workshops
ask them to give a talk, organize meetups/ workshops

AAARRRP! Orbit or Funnel?Let's find a model for DevRel

By Cheuk Ting Ho

AAARRRP! Orbit or Funnel?Let's find a model for DevRel

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